Monthly Wrap Up February

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2020

Is it just me or February really just lasted for a blink? I was so occupied with stuff, that halfway through the month I completely forgot that it was my birthday month and didn’t have as much fun as I would have liked. That’s not saying I didn’t have any fun ar that I didn’t have a great birthday month, because I did. But I was just too focused on the coming blog anniversary and other things I’m working on behind the scenes. Oops.

Book Reviews

In case you missed any of our reviews in February you can read them by clicking on the title! 🙂 We were a bit low on reviews this month, but I can assure you, we’ve read more than that, we just can’t share our thoughts on them yet. Or in my case, I had a couple of audiobooks I didn’t review.

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom – 5/5

Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom

Dark Fire has everything which makes it a masterwork: intrigue, murder mystery, compelling and unconventional characters (Matthew Shardlake is a hunchback for instance, oh and there is a black apothecary, Guy who used to be a monk), and richly detailed world. I’m still amazed how Sansom managed to bring back the 16th century London with all its characteristics and details.”

Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen – 4.5/5

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I was supposed to read this book last year, but then failed, so it was damn fucking time to get to it. Now I’m ready for the sequel.

Storytellers is about personal demons, about the rougher side of life which isn’t improved by the Icelandic weather. It’s about people, about choices and the lies (stories) we tell ourselves. It’s about a lot of things, really, and the more time you spend in Larssen‘s world the more it makes you think. I love when a book does that to you. When you can’t quite let it go and try to puzzle out the things that are left unsaid. If you are looking for a book with a happy ending or one that is going to tell you that life is full of glitters and rainbow, then Storytellers is not for you. And you are going to be poorer for it.


Yes, yes, I’m sorry, this radio silence lasted longer than I expected, but life threw some curves at us. BUT! We finally posted our first official finalist review and from now on, we’ll post 1 each week. Except this week. We still need a bit of a head start to make sure we’ll get out everything in time.

If you missed anything during Phase 1, you can check out everything that happend with us on my SPFBO 5 Phase 1 page and you can get to know the team better here! If you’d like to follow our progress in the Finals, then my SPFBO 5 Finals page is for you!

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes – 7/10

Team RockStarlit BookAsylum’s first finalist ratings are the following:

Belle: 6.5/10   Jen: 8/10   Nick: 9/10   Timy: 5.5/10

Read our official review(s) here!

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Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest.

Itami Cho has earned the name Whispering Blade. She is a Shintei warrior, sworn to the path of oaths and honour. But keeping her oaths has always been more difficult than taking them. When Flaming Fist and his bandits attack the city of Kaishi, Itami swears one last oath: she will protect the city and its people at any cost.

Ein has spent his life dreaming of being a hero, and now the God of Death has given him a chance. The Reaper has set him an impossible quest: an eight-year-old boy sent to stop an immortal Emperor.

Never Die is a stand alone set in the world of Mortal Techniques. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with samurai, shinigami, heroes, and vengeful spirits.

Tales from the Asylum

Tales from the Asylum is a feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…

Welcome the finalists tales! These are coming slower than I anticipated, mostly because I have SO MANY other posts. I’m sorry. But they are coming, I promise.

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Lisa is a self-published fantasy author by day and book nerd in every other spare moment she has. She’s a self-confessed coffee snob (don’t try coming near her with any of that instant coffee rubbish) but is willing to accept all other hot drink aficionados, even tea drinkers.

She lives in the Australia’s capital city, Canberra, and like all Australians, is pretty much in constant danger from highly poisonous spiders, crocodiles, sharks, and drop bears, to name a few. As you can see, she is also pro-Oxford comma.

A 2019 SPFBO finalist, Lisa has published the YA fantasy series The Mage Chronicles, and is currently working on her latest epic fantasy series A Tale of Stars and Shadow. She has also partnered up with One Girl, an Australian charity working to build a world where all girls have access to quality education. A world where all girls — no matter where they are born or how much money they have — enjoy the same rights and opportunities as boys. A percentage of all Lisa’s royalties go to One Girl.

You can also follow Lisa on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Read Lisa Cassidy’s tale

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Darian Smith writes mainly speculative fiction (fantasy) and lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife, Adrienne (who also writes), and their black cat, Athena (who doesn’t). He’s a finalist for this year’s SPFBO competition and his writing work has won him two Koru Awards, the SpecFicNZ/Steam Press manuscript competition, and a Sir Julius Vogel Award. By day, he works with people who have neuromuscular conditions and he is also a qualified counsellor/family therapist. For those who are very swift with the pause button, he can be seen on television shows such as Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus.

Read Darian Smith’s tale!

Other Bookish Posts


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Born in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.

Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. The Wildfire Cycle is David’s debut series.

He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ.

David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.

Read my interview with Jyuth from D.P. Woolliscroft’s debut novel, Kingshold

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RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket’. Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician, RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, AGE OF ASSASSINS, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country. He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.

Read my interview with RJ

Cover Reveal

I had the honour to reveal the cover of The World Maker Parable, with my good friends Justine (Whispers and Wonder) and Nick (Out of the World SFF Reviews) by  Luke Tarzian. Luke is a crazy talented person and he is the one who designed this kick-ass cover. You really should check it out and pre-order it!

Look at the awesome cover here!

The Questioning

The Questioning is back! I had some free spots open in my schedule, so I brought this feature back after some rest. If you’d like to take part, please let me know!

In February I had Andrea (Little Red Reviewer) in the Blogger Edition.

Read my answers to Phil’s unquestioningly weird questions!

Book Giveaway

In case you missed the Magic Underground Giveaway, you still have time to check it out! The first of a trilogy of anthologies will be released on March 10th. Until then, you can win awesome prizes. And to make you even more interested, Anela Deen (one of our SPFBO semi-finalists) generously offered an excerpt of her piece!


See the details, read the excerpt and enter the giveaway!

Other Posts

A Week in My Head

As part of my new habits regarding mental health and generally taking better care of myself, back in January I decided to start a new weekly series on the blog. In these posts I talk about all kind of stuff from my bullet journal to addressing some feelings and thoughts I have faced on that given week. I might not post in every single week,  but I’ll try to keep this up regularly as these posts seem to resonate with people and were quite well received.

I have a dedicated A Week in My Head page, where you can find all of my entries in this online journal of mine!

What I talked about in February:

  • February 9th: Entry 5 – In which I talk about past, present and upcoming birthdays. Mostly mine, but for the first time I give a glimpse into my blog anniversary plans!
  • February 23rd: Entry 6 – In which I talk about some of the things that are happening at the moment. Also about my found family and online friendships which means the world to me.

Life Stuff

I’ve talked about these things in the entries above, but I just want to shout some more before I move on.

As a birthday gift to myself, I went to see the Banksy exhibition, which was great! Duh. I also spent a weekend in the UK visiting friends – weather was bad, but at least there weren’t any flight cancellations so that’s a win. I had a great time, but I probably would have needed a few more days to really be able to relax. Anyway, I got to see a band play live and was welcomed and that made me feel really… appreciated, I guess.

But I think the best thing that happened was the birth of my niece! She was born on the day I left for the UK but she is super cute and my brother keeps sending me pictures and videos of her and let me tell you, she is as cute as her aunty. Even if we are not blood related. Not that it counts – see Entry 6.

All the while, I was organising and planning for the 2nd anniversary of the blog in March. Not everything went as I planned, but I’m one step closer and I can’t wait to show you guys what I have in store! And what other things me and a friend of mine are working on still. Maaaybe we’ll do an official announcement soonish. But I can’t say more now.

Music Musings

Music Monday

If you missed any of them, give them a listen and read my personal notes/thoughts/ramblings regarding them 🙂

I think that’s it for February. I hope to see you all in March, which is going to be pretty kick-ass 😉